Pac-12 links: Why Ben Howland went to Mississippi State

» Ben Howland still has photos of his Santa Barbara house on his phone, but he’s temporarily given up the comforts of Southern California for Starkville — a place that has given him another chance to coach basketball.

» Charges against Dominique Hatfield have been dropped after an alleged armed robbery, opening the door to a possible return for the Utah cornerback.

» An Oregon State student saved a woman from a burning car. Continue reading

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Myles Jack, Paul Perkins represent UCLA on Walter Camp watch list

UCLA tailback Paul Perkins ran for 1,575 yards to lead the Pac-12 in 2014. He is watch-listed for the Walter Camp, Maxwell and Doak Walker Awards. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA tailback Paul Perkins ran for 1,575 yards to lead the Pac-12 in 2014. The redshirt junior is watch-listed for the Walter Camp, Maxwell and Doak Walker Awards. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

Both Myles Jack and Paul Perkins made the watch list for the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award.

Representing UCLA among 48 other names, the linebacker and running back head into their junior season as arguably the biggest names on the Bruins’ offense and defense. The former is a versatile defender capable of matching up against wide receivers, while the latter was UCLA’s first conference-leading rusher in nearly 15 years.

Perkins is also on watch lists for the Doak Walker and Maxwell Awards, while Jack is in the running for the Butkus Award, Lombardi Award, Nagurski Trophy, Bednarik Award and Paul Hornung Award.

The Walter Camp watch list also included several other Pac-12 players: Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon and linebacker Scooby Wright III; Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan and linebacker Blake Martinez; USC linebacker Su’a Cravens and quarterback Cody Kessler; Cal quarterback Jared Goff; Oregon running back Royce Freeman; Utah running back Devontae Booker.

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UCLA running back Paul Perkins makes Doak Walker watch list

UCLA’s Paul Perkins, who ran under the radar for much of 2014, will enter the season as a candidate for the Doak Walker Award.

The Bruins’ talented junior was one of 69 names on the watch list to be college football’s top running back. Perkins ran for a conference-best 1,575 yards in 2014, but settled for an All-Pac-12 honorable mention behind four other tailbacks.

No UCLA player has ever won the Doak Walker Award, which was first handed out in 1990. The Bruins’ all-time leading rusher Johnathan Franklin was one of three finalists for the trophy in 2012.

Here are all the Bruins who have appeared on preseason watch lists this month: Continue reading

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UCLA to break ground on football, basketball practice facilities

UCLA will break ground on its new football and basketball practice facilities in August, less than two years after fundraising first began.

An official ceremony will be held on Thursday, Aug. 27 for both the Wasserman Football Center and Mo Ostin Basketball Center, west of Spaulding Field and southwest of Pauley Pavilion. Football and basketball head coaches Jim Mora, Steve Alford and Cori Close will be present, as will donors Casey Wasserman and Mo Ostin.

“This is confirmation that UCLA will continue as the premier intercollegiate athletics program in the nation while remaining a force to be reckoned with well into the future,” athletic director Dan Guerrero said in a statement. Continue reading

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Four UCLA players highlight Lombardi Award watch list

As preseason watch lists continue to drown each other out, the Lombardi Award is trying a new way to distinguish itself: including as many names as it can find.

If such lists are intended as a guideline for award voters heading into the season, this committee won’t get much help from the bloated 145-man roster — a number that more than doubles the size of many other watch lists.

So the fact that four UCLA players are on the radar for the Lombardi Award — given to the top offensive or defensive lineman, or linebacker — is not overly surprising. Linebacker Myles Jack (who also made the Butkus Award watch list today) and defensive linemen Kenny Clark and Eddie Vanderdoes are the Bruin defense’s most valuable players. Each of them will finish the season with at least an all-conference nod.

The one UCLA name on the list that could raise an eyebrow is offensive tackle Caleb Benenoch. While the junior has started 22 games at right tackle, he is not as irreplaceable on the line as center Jake Brendel or left tackle Conor McDermott.

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